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Deere Labor Contract


DOCTOR EVIL
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Here's my experience with health care costs. I have had 5 spine surgeries in the past 6 years. 2 - 4 night stays, 2 - overnights and 1 out patient. I was never in ICU, just a an ordinary surgical unit. The hospital bill only ran $94-95,000 for 4 nights. That's about $1000 / hour.  The total bill for the procedure was approx $135,000. If it had not been for success in one of my surgeries, I could have been paralyzed and sitting in a wheel chair today.  I had almost lost my ability to walk in less than 10 days. I feel very fortunate that at 71 that I'm dealing with some residual leg pain, need to watch my sugar and after cataract surgery my eye sight is very good. Every day vertical and upright is a good one :)

I have to pay 20% of the insurance premium. I also opt for the High Deductible plan. If I have no bills (LOL) I save some money, If I meet the deductible, the cost is about the same as the regular plan.

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The idea that you can only get low cost medical insurance by being a union member is not necessarially true.

Halliburton was totally non-union, with perhaps the Duncan and Carrolton Manufacturing Facilities being the exceptions, and IIRC, the co-pay was something on the order of $15-$20 per visit to the doctor.

As far as pay, the department (PSL) I was in had a "special pay plan"  that gave us up to $450 per day above our regular salary, plus $50/day meal allowance when we were on location, plus a company credit card, plus a car/pickup and fuel card, plus prescription, dental, vision insurance, stock purchase at a discount, and a whole host of other 'discounted' services (most of which were of dubious value).

Of course, all this was when times were good, when those came to a screeching halt, lots of the additional 'perks' were soon taken away.

When I started, the field employees were guaranteed 60 hours a week, so, if you worked an hour a week, you got paid for 60. (This was a Godsend, when the "Frost Law" was in effect) I think now that has been cut to 40 hrs.

Overseas, I was on salary, but you still got a 'Hazardous Duty Allowance" depending what country you were in, a meal allowance, for the days you were in town, and of course, your airfare (cattle class), and hotel , if you were not in the staff house, were all paid for.

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38 minutes ago, 766 Man said:

  Everybody says its an entry level job.  The standard next line is if you want better pay and benefits then go start your own company.  

Or get a marketable job skill through education. Got a son in law making well over 100K as an electrical engineer. Daughter makes 31 an hours as a medical lab tech. A son is making over 40 and hour as a network engineer. All of them went after higher education chasing the money.

Look at what happens if a company can't compete in the marketplace. They fail. A company has to pay it's owner/stock holders, employees at all levels, goods and materials plus taxes. And most to stay on a healthy footing have to have about a 5-7% net profit. Why do you think companies have gone over to robotics? Way cheaper through the years over pay wages. Heck they are looking at limited robotics for fast food.

The whole key here is affordable health care.

Rick

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42 minutes ago, oldtanker said:

Or get a marketable job skill through education. Got a son in law making well over 100K as an electrical engineer. Daughter makes 31 an hours as a medical lab tech. A son is making over 40 and hour as a network engineer. All of them went after higher education chasing the money.

Look at what happens if a company can't compete in the marketplace. They fail. A company has to pay it's owner/stock holders, employees at all levels, goods and materials plus taxes. And most to stay on a healthy footing have to have about a 5-7% net profit. Why do you think companies have gone over to robotics? Way cheaper through the years over pay wages. Heck they are looking at limited robotics for fast food.

The whole key here is affordable health care.

Rick

  What is being looked at is well beyond limited use of robotics.  Companies like McD's are looking at full automation.  Most of us here are older so the concept is pretty hard to fathom.  Younger business people have the mindset to maximize profits period and not be a provider of jobs.  This will apply to managing partners of law firms and engineering firms.  So I would predict that those heading to college currently better not plan on white collaring their way to a nice home and retirement.  

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I don’t really have any experience in a huge corporate environment, but we have hired a lot of people over the years. My general observation is that most people have no idea why we are hiring them. They seem to be under the impression that I hired them so they can pay their rent and buy groceries. The reason I hired them is because we had work that needed to be done. I don’t want to be their healthcare manager and their retirement advisor. All of those things are available if they want them in the private market. I have fired many people because they can’t get it through their head that if they don’t work hard and quit wasting time that there is no reason for them to be here. I have also been in many arguments with now fired employees about what I owe them or what they think I can afford. If robotics are ever perfected for farming I will be the first one to buy them because the labor pool is so poorly skilled and unwilling to learn and I am sick of it. I can’t tell you how many times we have interviewed a new person and all they want to know is what I’m going to give them just for the pleasure of hiring them to work here. 

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2 hours ago, DOCTOR EVIL said:

   Your crystal ball is pretty clear.  I hope your correct about the continued medical insurance benefit.  Taking that benefit away is a trend I do NOT want to see big business getting used to.

   Far as any raise,  The 2015 contract did not have a pay raise, it was actually a pay reduction. I forget what it was the company changed, but I don't think a wage increase this contract is possible, but if there is one it will be tiny, in spite of Deere setting new sales and profits every year.

    I actually worked during IH's big strike '79 & '80. I was requested to be one of about 6-8 members of the material handling dept. I drove a fork truck, and sometimes I drove the General Leaseways single axle IH semi-tractor they rented to move trailers around. Worked six 12 hour days a week,  was a l-o-n-g winter.  I had friends who were in the Union, the strike resulted in several divorces, several lost houses too.  Took years and years for the scars of that strike to heal.

  I'd be surprised that in the case of the IH strike that the impact was as minimal as several lost houses and several divorces.  Those kind of strikes are far more devastating typically.  Most households I would guess were knocked on their ears financially.

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15 hours ago, iowaboy1965 said:

I dont recall, the article was a few days ago. I also don't know if I trust the motives of the writers but it was just a lil something to think about. Big companies like to blame labor for all their woes but there is way more to the story.

Two sides to every story. A lot of people work their butts off in a factory and they deserve everything they get and the jobs they do they will need major medical insurance later in life!

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31 minutes ago, kal said:

Two sides to every story. A lot of people work their butts off in a factory and they deserve everything they get and the jobs they do they will need major medical insurance later in life!

My self employed grandfather died just as physically used up and with as many health problems as anyone from years of farming with not much to show for it. Where was he supposed to go to get what he had coming?
 

These labor groups should make as good of a deal as they can get for their employees. But if they can’t get what they want that doesn’t mean someone owes it to them. Starting out with the mentality that John Deere is invincible and that they owe the employees this or that is what did IH in. 

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The health care industry has changed as much as farming and the equipment used and the cost of equipment.

 

My innards gave the rest of my body trouble back in 16 spent way to many day in the hospital. But doctor W from a group practice checked on me, "doctor M is twice the doctor I am, his camera he run inside you a has second camera taking picture of the first".   Doctor W had done nothing but colonoscopy work for years, to give context to doctor M and his level of equipment. A good chance I would not be around without all the high tech machinery doing scans and tests inside you.

How does a hospital justify the millions in equipment if they don't charge for it.  So......... the high cost of having insurance.

We backed into companies paying for insurance during a period of wage and price controls during  WW2. The insurance was a back door way to pay increases when that was not allowed. Then big companies used it to there advantage against smaller companies. As was stated back a ways the larger the group the cheaper insurance was.

 

Now another reshuffling of the deck as we compete more head to head with the third world.  So is health care a privilege or a right, not something we cannot discuss here as that becomes political on this site.

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As a factory worker that was born and raised on a farm and still raise cattle, I’m torn on this subject. I know the factory job pays better and is easier work than I’ve ever known. However in my 15 years making pet food and dog treats I have seen the corporate greed take one thing after another. I left a job at a family owned lumber yard that paid full health insurance but no other benefits to the much better paying factory job with cost sharing on health insurance but pension, 401k, better vacation pay ect. As well as much better pay. Old timers used to complain about every little thing and I thought that’s not much but now I see it all adds up. They quit the holiday party, before I started they quit the Christmas bonus right now they are talking about changing from 8 hour shifts to 12 hours. Two things I loved about it when I started was it was non-union and it felt like a family. Now the family aspect is almost gone and it is very close to going union. I always considered myself anti-union but the way things are going lately I would vote for it. In my situation the pride is gone, management had taken it all away piece by piece. Physically it’s still the easiest job I’ve ever had, but it isn’t as easy as it was and the mental aspects have made it more stressful than farming. Only thing keeping me there today is that it’s a great paycheck. Hay tomorrow is payday!

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Unions, strikes and employee compensation is complicated politics.

Unions are important but union leadership can be corrupt.

Workers need safe working conditions and fair compensation.

Companies need workers and to control costs.

JD starts at $19 per hour. Round here you can start at over $20 per in chicken plants. It's alot cheaper to live here than in northern cities. Kill plants are not nice places to work but assembly line work can be rough too.

Thx-Ace 

Thx-Ace 

 

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I just checked my payslip. The company itemizes what they pay and what I pay. YTD they've paid roughly 25,000 for medical, dental, and vision. My contribution is roughly 3,500 so far. It's a good plan. If they gave me an extra 30k cash I could not buy that coverage.

It used to be easy for companies to offer company paid health care but the costs for it have risen almost exponentially - way above inflation rate. Few companies cover the whole costs anymore. The fact that they can negotiate a better price than an individual can obtain and  subsidize that cost is still a great benefit. I'm fortunate to be a sought-after worker working for a great firm.

Old Tanker has it right. If you're in an entry-level job and want more get the education to make yourself marketable.

Micky Ds is considering automation due to being unable to obtain reliable workers not a desire to replace good workers.

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On 9/28/2021 at 7:30 PM, hobbyfarm said:

How many people get paid health insurance in retirement and don't have to contribute to their insurance premiums while working.  I don't know of any employers around here that cover things to that extent.

Just about every government employee from the local to federal level.

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44 minutes ago, from H to 80 said:

Just about every government employee from the local to federal level.

Not local maybe in bigger states they do but not here. Here is a thought had two uncles retire from guard or reserve. One a seargent in South Dakota other a full colonel in Texas both said they paid 50 a month for health insurance. I guess a few years of service in younger days gives you a lifetime of well earned health care

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On 9/28/2021 at 7:30 PM, hobbyfarm said:

How many people get paid health insurance in retirement and don't have to contribute to their insurance premiums while working.  I don't know of any employers around here that cover things to that extent.

I won’t get paid insurance in retirement but while working I don’t have to contribute anything towards it and it’s private company and cadillac plan we have. 

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1 hour ago, New Englander said:

I just checked my payslip. The company itemizes what they pay and what I pay. YTD they've paid roughly 25,000 for medical, dental, and vision. My contribution is roughly 3,500 so far. It's a good plan. If they gave me an extra 30k cash I could not buy that coverage.

It used to be easy for companies to offer company paid health care but the costs for it have risen almost exponentially - way above inflation rate. Few companies cover the whole costs anymore. The fact that they can negotiate a better price than an individual can obtain and  subsidize that cost is still a great benefit. I'm fortunate to be a sought-after worker working for a great firm.

Old Tanker has it right. If you're in an entry-level job and want more get the education to make yourself marketable.

Micky Ds is considering automation due to being unable to obtain reliable workers not a desire to replace good workers.

  Don't fool yourself.  If it costs 5 cents per burger for humans to handle them and 3.5 cents per burger for full automation to handle them it boils down to McD's wanting to put that 1.5 cents per burger in their bank account.  I would not be very confident that you or I can identify the line where a company uses automation or not.  We have beat into the heads of college students for decades now the concept of maximizing profit.  If automation produces more profits then businesses will follow that path.  If your response if "they can't do that"  or "nobody goes that far" then you have already conceded defeat because those are reasons not rooted in cold hard logic.

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6 minutes ago, Cliff Neubauer said:

I hear a lot of farmers complain about automation killing jobs in other industries as they buy a $300,000 combine.

All the farmers in my area are investing in automation for the same reason as every other business. How many times would you close your restaurant because you can’t hire enough people before you thought “I’m never going through that again”? I lost almost entire tobacco crops because it frosted on it while I was still trying to get help to show up. How many bushels is acceptable to lose because of poor harvest or poor planting or poor marketing while waiting on help? The employees are crying about things being high priced and never consider maybe employers are experiencing the same high costs. I am handling more money than ever, but I am also spending more money than ever. Farms are big because people have been leaving production agriculture since the 1930’s. It is an absolute fact that farming is harder than a lot of other jobs and that a lot of people will not work that hard if they can find another job where they don’t have to. 

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8 hours ago, 766 Man said:

  Don't fool yourself.  If it costs 5 cents per burger for humans to handle them and 3.5 cents per burger for full automation to handle them it boils down to McD's wanting to put that 1.5 cents per burger in their bank account.  I would not be very confident that you or I can identify the line where a company uses automation or not.  We have beat into the heads of college students for decades now the concept of maximizing profit.  If automation produces more profits then businesses will follow that path.  If your response if "they can't do that"  or "nobody goes that far" then you have already conceded defeat because those are reasons not rooted in cold hard logic.

I believe that if people reliably showed up for work and put in a full day of work then fast food restaurants would be less inclined to make the investment in full automation. Sadly though, all of the restaurants I drive by have help wanted signs out. In fact, many other businesses I see also have help wanted signs. We should have historic low unemployment but it seems more and more are unwilling to actually work. Machines are always there, do the job reliably, and don't complain. Profit is a driver, no doubt, but consistent reliable product is also a driver. Automation requires a significant upfront expense and many of the fast food stores are franchised and the franchisee may not want to make that investment. A job at MD's is only an entry level or part time work, not the false narrative that it should support a family, you know, the so called living wage.

Edited by New Englander
Clarified low unemployment
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1 hour ago, New Englander said:

I believe that if people reliably showed up for work and put in a full day of work then fast food restaurants would be less inclined to make the investment in full automation. Sadly though, all of the restaurants I drive by have help wanted signs out. In fact, many other businesses I see also have help wanted signs. We should have historic low unemployment but it seems more and more are unwilling to actually work. Machines are always there, do the job reliably, and don't complain. Profit is a driver, no doubt, but consistent reliable product is also a driver. Automation requires a significant upfront expense and many of the fast food stores are franchised and the franchisee may not want to make that investment. A job at MD's is only an entry level or part time work, not the false narrative that it should support a family, you know, the so called living wage.

  This is not a couple of generations ago in terms of franchises.  You either abide by corporate or lose your franchise.  Within the last few years all the Chevy and Ford dealers around here built new facilities at the insistence of corporate.  I know vehicle prices are up but it has always been a race to the bottom in terms of net profit.  I just don't see how these dealers can afford new facilities.  I personally know the local Harley Davidson dealer and many years ago Harley put their dealers through the same hoops.  I asked him if he could afford it and while he did not answer the expression on his face pretty much said it was something he really did not want to do.  In a healthy economy McD's should not be a long term career other than management but in most rural communities retail is the only place most people are going to find a job.  The best years economically locally are over 40 years into the past.  Manufacturing has greatly declined and government has fewer jobs.  Trying to make every last student a white collar worker is a fool's errand.  Some people are only going to be able to do the most menial jobs period.  

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Thanks to our liberal state policy's we are making the change to automation next summer after the 2021 spud crop is finished. With 35-40 employees we can continue to bleed a slow death or make changes to stop the bleeding.  State sent notice starting 1-22 minimum wage is going up 6% from  $13.69 to $14.49. This notice reinforces our decision.  Our top tier pay is $22-23/hour.  Last season we paid out over 16,300 hours of O/T pay.  New system will run almost twice the product and do it in a 40 hour week with less people.  Also this system will allow us to shift our production from April-May (low $ Market ) to mid October-December (high $ market).   Should be interesting to go from old school book to new technology. The other option would be to terminate everyone and close the business and ride off into the sunset. Which with all the BS going on might be the best idea to date.

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On 9/28/2021 at 6:41 PM, nomorejohndeere said:

I know I'm self employed and buy my own benefits with what I make.

It gives me a crystal clear perspective.

 

Thats fine ,I was self employed for years milking cows, struggling and prospering, good and bad .But a contract is a a contract. If a company agrees to pay x amount of dollars so be it .The employee abides also and works to fulfill his/her side of bargain. A person's ability to earn money is dictated by how much he can sell his product by (which is his time in a 24  hr day) for.Thats his only way to support himself,so theoretically he is no different than any self employed person he just works and gets paid differently then you. Abide by all contracts on both sides, negotiate fairly, pay fairly,and both parties will benefit. 

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